United States v. Zucca

PETITIONER: United States

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1955-1956)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

ARGUED: Jan 24, 1956 / Jan 25, 1956
DECIDED: Apr 30, 1956

Facts of the case


Media for United States v. Zucca

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 25, 1956 in United States v. Zucca

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 24, 1956 in United States v. Zucca

Earl Warren:

Number 213, United States of America versus Ettore Zucca.

Mr. Bishop.

J.F. Bishop:

The Government brought this case to this Court because it felt that there had been a very serious misconstruction of a statute below.

The statute in question is Section 340 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952.

The Government had instituted proceedings under that Section against the respondent to revoke his naturalization because of a long series of willfulness representations and material concealments by which he had obtained that naturalization in the first place.

The Government commenced the proceedings by filing a complaint.

In that complaint the text of the misrepresentations was set forth at length and there was also a section in which the Government alleged there had been good cause for the institution of these proceedings.

But the judge felt that in addition there had to be an affidavit of good cause.

Now very briefly the Government feels that there is nothing in the statute that requires this additional affidavit.

The Government feels that this section does two things.

First, let me correct my -- let me insert a remark here.

The Government's position is that the only reference in this section to an affidavit of good cause and I'll read the statute in a moment, is in the part in which an affirmative duty is imposed on the United States Attorneys to act when they might not act otherwise.

That's where the affidavit of good cause appears.

The Government feels that on proper construction this section does two things.

First, it says it shall be the duty of United States Attorneys will institute proceedings for denaturalization and it says when that duty arises upon an affidavit of good cause.

And the second part of the section separated in a different part of the sentence as the part of it -- I mean an entirely different paragraph as to the rest tells what the benefits for the defendants are to be.

That is it affirmatively and clearly sets forth a 60-day notice provision.

Now that is the Government's feeling about it and perhaps the best way to get at that is to present the statute before the Court and I'll take the liberty of reading it and I'll try to read it without any inflection and without any slanting if I can do so.

It's presented in the Government brief at page 2, if you have that before you and I read, “It shall be the duty of the United States Attorneys for the respective districts upon affidavit showing good cause therefore to institute proceedings in any court specified in subsection (a) of this -- subsection 310 of this Title, in the judicial district in which the naturalized person, citizen may reside at the time of bringing suit, for the purpose of revoking and setting aside the order admitting such person to citizenship and canceling a certificate of naturalization on the ground that such order and certificate of naturalization were procured by concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation.”

Now there are asterisks in the Government's copy and what follows in those asterisks there is some language as to the effect of the revocation and a special provision concerning contempt of court as an additional ground for revocation.

And then that next sentence as you can observe as a provision for the defendants that are not residing in the United States and then there is the separate paragraph b and again I start reading that's on page 3.

(b) the party to whom was granted the naturalization alleged to have been procured by concealment of a material fact or by willfulness representation shall in any such proceedings under subsection (a) of this Section have 60 days personal notice unless waived by such party.

The rest of it I don't believe I need to read because the contrast of that second part with the first part is now before the Court.

I have outlined somewhat roughly how this case arose, that is the proceeding was commenced by a formal complaint in which the Government charged the willfulness representations by which the naturalization was originally obtained.

And the statute --

Sherman Minton:

Under this --

J.F. Bishop:

Pardon me.

Sherman Minton:

Under this section?

J.F. Bishop:

That is right.

That -- this is clearly under this Section and I might add also that the 60-day notice that was given and there is no question that the jurisdiction was in the Court of the residence, of the defendant, here.